POLK COUNTY, Iowa -- The Iowa State Patrol says zero visibility in snowy conditions led to a 25 car pileup on Interstate 80 near Altoona yesterday afternoon. Five people were taken to the hospital with what are described as non-life threatening injuries.
“You don't usually see a 25 car pileup, but with the early arrival of the snow, people leaving work early, I think that's what caused a lot more volume out on the Interstate,” said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright.
The wreck brought traffic to a standstill around mile marker 141. The back-up made it difficult for tow trucks to get to the scene and clear the road.
“We were using shoulders and everything else to get out,” said Wes Penney, owner of Mid-Iowa Towing.
Penney saw cars tangled against the median, in the middle of the road and in the ditch. His crew towed eight of the cars from the interstate.
“We've got with some with heavy front end damage , some with heavy rear end damage and we've got one in the middle here, not a straight panel on it,” described Penney.
The chain reaction pileup is still under investigation. The first driver who lost control could be cited for going too fast for the conditions, but Bright says the State Patrol is thankful that it appears no one was seriously hurt.